How to Keep Dogs From Chewing Without Bitter Spray

Dog chewing is a normal behavior, but your pup must learn what is OK to chew.

Dog chewing is a normal behavior, but your pup must learn what is OK to chew.

Favorite shoes with teeth marks parading across the leather and exposed wires on your phone charger are a few appealing doggie chew toys. Keeping your pup from chewing without using a bitter spray requires reducing his access and substituting appropriate chewable objects.

Determine why your dog is chewing your possessions. Dogs often chew because they are teething, they need more activity, they are lonely or they have separation anxiety.

Provide relief for your teething puppy. Give him puppy teething rings, frozen dog treats and hard rubber balls.

Walk your dog and play with him. Dogs love to walk and it's good for you, too. Set up a walking regimen and stick to it. When you finish walking, take the time to interact with your dog. Toss balls or play hide and seek.

Provide your dog with plenty of acceptable items to chew. Don't give him an old pair of shoes or socks with holes. These items are confusing because they are like the items you don't want him to chew. Nylon bones, squeaky toys and toys with hidden treats will keep him satisfied. Switch the toys periodically to keep him interested.

Teach him what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. If he is chewing on your favorite shoes, say "uh-oh," remove the item and give him something he can chew. Use a calm voice and don't grab the item.

Put your valuable items out of reach. View the house from your puppy’s perspective and remove all items he can reach or see. Put shoes in the closet and close the door. Make sure all dirty laundry is in the hamper.

Confine your dog when you're not home. Either block off one area of the house or put him in a crate. Do not crate him for more than six hours, and provide him with safe chew toys in his crate.

Items you will need

  • Puppy teething rings
  • Frozen dog treats
  • Hard rubber balls
  • Nylon bones
  • Squeaky toys
  • Toys with hidden treats
  • Crate


  • Supervise your pup until he learns what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
  • If you have to leave for a while, play with your pup or take him for a walk before you go.


  • Don't chase after your pup to retrieve an item. He will think you are playing.
  • Don't scold or punish him when you find something he destroyed two hours ago. He won't be able to connect the punishment with the crime and you'll just confuse and scare him.

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About the Author

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

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